John Mighton

Mathematician and Author at University of Toronto

1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
University of Toronto
HQ Phone:
(416) 978-2700
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Last Updated 5/28/2016

General Information

Employment History

Mathematician and Author  - Alumni Portrait

Publisher  - Playwrights Canada Press


Bachelor of Philosophy  - University of Toronto

Masters  - philosophy , McMaster University

Ph.D.  - mathematics , University of Toronto

PhD  - University of Waterloo

PhD  - Mathematics , Fields Institute for Research

degree  - Philosophy , Victoria College

honorary Doctorate in Divinity  - St. Thomas University

master  - U of T


ADVISORY BOARD Member  - Subtle Technologies

Founder  - JUMP Math

Fellow  - Fields Institute

Founder  - Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies

Advisory Board Member  - Classroom Connections

Co-Founder  - Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network

Founder  - Mathematician and JUMP Math

Board Member  - The Canadian Netherlands Business and Professional Association

Fellow  - University of Toronto's Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences

Volunteer Tutor  - Canadian Alliance of Black Educators

Web References  

In Science, Engineering & Medicine

John Mighton
Mathematician and Award-Winning Playwright A double U of T Grad, John Mighton earned his BA in Philosophy in 1978, and in 2000 received his PhD in Mathematics from the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences at U of T. Mighton is the founder of JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) and an award-winning playwright. Mighton founded JUMP in 1998. The program is designed for young children from lower-income families who cannot afford private tutoring and who do not receive enough assistance in learning mathematics. The JUMP approach has been so successful that educators from across Canada, Australia and England have incorporated it into their curricula. For his work in math education, Mighton has been made an honorary Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, one of the most prestigious institutes in the world. He was also awarded a prestigious Ashoka Fellowship, as a social entrepreneur for his work in fostering numeracy and building young children's self-confidence through JUMP. In 2003 he published a book on the approach to math education JUMP uses, called The Myth of Ability and in 2007 he published its follow up, The End of Ignorance. Also in 2005, John Mighton was awarded the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre which is worth $100,000. (Photo: Chris Chapman)

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Founder | JUMP Math

"John Mighton may well become the nation's math conscience.
He not only knows that all children can master genuine mathematics but has repeatedly proved so with his brilliant, no-nonsense ... program." - Andrew Nikiforuk, Education Writer and award-winning author, commenting on JUMP Math founder Dr. John Mighton, O.C. Dr. John Mighton is a playwright turned mathematician and author who founded JUMP Math as a charity in 2001. His work in fostering numeracy and in building children's self-confidence through success in math has been widely recognized. He has been named a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, an Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year for Canada, an Ashoka Fellow, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received three honorary doctorates. John is also the recipient of the 10th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education. John developed JUMP Math to address both the tragedy of low expectations for students and that of math anxiety in teachers. What makes JUMP Math unique is the premise that anyone can learn math and anyone can teach it. His national best-seller, The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child, describes his approach and successes with the program. John began tutoring children in math as a financially-struggling playwright, though he had abandoned the subject for years after having nearly failed first-year calculus. His success in helping students achieve levels of success that teachers and parents had thought impossible fueled his belief that everyone has great untapped potential. The experience of repeatedly witnessing the heart-breaking paradox of high potential and low achievement led him to conclude that the widely-held assumption that mathematical talent is a rare genetic gift has created a self-fulfilling prophecy of low achievement. A generally high level of math anxiety among many elementary school teachers, itself an outcome of that belief system, creates an additional challenge. John had to overcome his own "massive math anxiety" before making the decision to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Toronto. He was later awarded an NSERC Fellowship for postdoctoral research in knot and graph theory. He is currently a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and has taught mathematics at the University of Toronto. He has also lectured in philosophy at McMaster University, where he received a master's degree in philosophy. As a mathematician and a playwright, John believes that there are more connections between the arts and sciences than people generally see, as mathematicians are often led by a sense of beauty or elegance in their work. His own plays have been performed across Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States, and he has won several national awards including the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, the Dora Award, the Chalmers Award, and the Siminovitch Prize.

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About JUMP Math | JUMP Math

The JUMP Math numeracy program was started in 1998 by mathematician and playwright, Dr. John Mighton, an Adjunct Professor in Mathematics at the University of Toronto, Order of Canada, an Ashoka International Fellow, winner of two Governor General's Awards for Drama and the prestigious Siminovitch prize.

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